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Of Gods and Dragons

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"What do you make of it?," Daenerys asks Missandei when they return to the guest quarters.

The rooms are almost quaint in appearance though more spacious than Daenerys would have imagined. The stone walls by the windows are covered in tapestries to help keep away the chill. The bed is piled with thick furs and the large fireplace gives the room plenty of light along with the candles placed along the spaces on the walls where the tapestries aren't hung.

A small table and chairs are tucked in the far corner of the room. An armoire stands on the opposite wall with a writing desk underneath the largest window.

The rugs on the wooden floor are lush and soft underneath her feet.

She decides she likes the coziness of it very much. It's much better than the rooms at Dragonstone though she enjoys the style of the rooms and layout more there.

"I've never known such cold," her friend says. The obvious distaste for it is evident.

"No," she agrees, "but it is beautiful in its own harsh way."

Missandei's lips twitch at that as her eyes drift to the window to watch the white specks drift along on their way to the earth.

"It is," she says softly before she looks at Daenerys. "From inside."

She can't help but laugh at her friend's truth.

"To be fair, I'm sure they would despise the heat of Essos," she tells the Naathi woman.

Missandei hums in response, pulling her dark cloak tighter around herself as she finishes unpacking the last items from Daenerys' trunk, laying out her evening dress and cloak before going to her own room to do the same.

Once done, they decide to go find Tyrion.

"I wish to walk around," she tells him.

"I'm not sure that's wise, Your Grace," Tyrion says slowly.

She arches an eyebrow at him and gives him a an imperious look. "Why not? Isn't the point of being allies trusting in said allies?"

"Yes...but-," Tyrion says but she cuts him off with a shake of her head.

"I don't mean to go anywhere far. Just maybe their...godswood?," she asks not sure if that's the word for it.

He nods in affirmation then looks outside. With a sigh, he relents. "Take some Unsullied with you at least. Or some of your blood riders if any are around," he tells her with a hard stare.

"As you wish," she says with a sly grin.

Turning to Missandei she gives her friend a smile. "Shall we?," she asks.

Missandei nods in assent and they head towards the door.

Turning back, Dany says, "When Ser Jorah is finished, will you send him to me? If we aren't in the godswood, we will be in their library. I'm quite intrigued to see what they have."

He gives another defeated sigh and nods his assent. "Of course, Your Grace," he tells her.

"Thank you, my lord Hand," she says with a smile.

As they walk to the godswood that sits next to the guest quarters, Dany can't hide the wonder on her face as she takes in the beauty of it.

The steam rising from the springs mixed with the snow gives the woods an ethereal quality. She sees Missandei wander over to them and put her hand in the steam. Her mouth opens slightly as she looks back to Dany.

"It's warm," she says surprised.

Dany goes to stand by her and copies her, feeling that the steam is indeed very warm.

"There was an old legend that the people thought dragons lived under Winterfell and that's why it's so warm," she tells her friend.

Missandei looks over and gives her a wry smile. "And who told you that, Your Grace? A certain solemn, brooding lord perhaps?"

She gives her friend a warning look before glancing around to make sure they're alone.

"Not when there are too many ears who can hear. We may not be as alone as we think," she whispers.

Missandei's eyes widen slightly as she too looks around before giving Dany a nod of understanding.

Dany leans in closer so she's shoulder to shoulder with her friend and whispers, "But yes."

Missandei gives her a smirk before her face turns serious.

"Just be careful, Your Grace. You aren't as subtle as you wish to be. I saw the Stark sisters giving him curious looks when his eyes would linger on you too long. If they have noticed, it won't be long before the other lords do too," she whispers, her voice so low that Dany has to almost press her head against hers to hear.

Her heart gives a few panicked beats before she forces it to calm. She leans away from Missandei and gives her a nod. If Jon can't keep up the mummery that they are only allies, she will have to play it for the both of them until she can speak with him.

She moves away from the small spring to continue looking around the wood.

The trees are all bare except the great tree in the middle, it's leaves a blood red that stand out while it's trunk is a pale cream.

"It's a....weirwood tree," she murmurs to Missandei, feeling the need to stay quiet in this place.

The Naathi woman's eyes are just as big as she takes in the strange tree. "I've never seen anything like this," she replies just as quietly.

"They are the eyes of the old gods," a voice says on the other side of the tree.

They walk around the trunk to find Brandon Stark sitting quietly before the tree, looking at them impassively.

"My Lord Stark," she says dipping her head in greeting, Missandei doing the same.

He gives her a flat smile and says, "I am no lord, Your Grace. I simply watch."

Dany looks at Missandei before turning back to the young man.

"Watch?," she asks.

He looks back to the tree and she follows his eyes. That's where she sees the face carved in the trunk.

"Yes, as the Children of the Forest used the weirwood eyes to watch the earth before men began cutting them down. Much like the glass candles," he says.

"Is it a type of sorcery?," she asks as she walks closer to the face on the tree to inspect it. She thinks back to the powers of the warlocks of Qarth and Quaithe of Asshai. When he doesn't respond she turns around.

He tilts his head in thought as his eyes meet hers again.

"Perhaps. It goes back all the way back to the Children. But unlike those you have dealt with in the east, my ability is not found through magic and spells. Mine is found through blood, known in the North as greenseers. Only one in a thousand are born as wargs. But one in a thousand wargs are greenseers," he tells her.

Her brow lifts at that as she studies the young man. She's always been hesitant of sorcery ever since Miri Maaz Dur. But she remembers how she saw visions in the House of the Undying and all the things Quaithe had told her.

"And what do you watch?," she asks curiously.

"Everything," he says looking around the woods.

She can't help the skepticism in her voice when she repeats, "Everything?"

"Things that have long since faded into the shroud of time, things that are happening now, even things that have not yet come to pass," he deadpans as his blue eyes rest on her again.

"So like the red priests of R'hllor with their flames. You see visions as well," she says in a casual tone, not very impressed.

The Shadowbinders could see what was happening in different parts of the world. Especially now that the glass candles are burning again. The Undying of Qarth could see things in the future as well. Even she saw things in the past and future if she included the dragon dreams her family has been known for.

He stares at her with those eyes that look through her, not at her and tilts his head again.

"But what I see are not only cryptic visions of possible futures. As I said, I am able to see all over. Not just distances of land but time as well," he responds.

She hums at that, intrigued.

He studies her a moment and then glances at Missandei before returning his gaze to her.

"Remember who you are, Daenerys. The dragons know. Do you?," he quotes.

She wills her face to remain calm even though her shoulders have gone stiff and her breathing begins to pick up. There's no way for him to know what Quaithe said... was there? The Shadowbinder remained in the east.

Missandei looks at her in worry but her eyes bore into the chair bound man.

Seeing her panic he gives her what she thinks is meant to be a comforting smile even though it's more empty than anything.

"I am not as the Shadowbinders of Asshai you have dealt with, Your Grace. Nor do I mean you harm as the witches and warlocks did," he says to her.

"But...," she says as stares at him with wide eyes.

"You strive to look forward always. But sometimes, to go forward, you must go back. No matter how painful," he says.

Her eyes widen even more at that. She stares at him in open curiosity now as she steps closer to him. He silently watches her when she crouches before him.

"You must prepare, Daenerys Stormborn. Your dragons are fire made flesh," he says and she nods. Yes, she knows this.

But he continues.

"And fire is power. All have, and will continue to, lust for that power. But none will do so more than he," he says, his eyes boring into hers.

She looks at him in alarm and he nods in grim affirmation. "Yes, you know of whom I speak. You are his biggest threat and he covets your children above all else. You've seen this already, when he took your white and gold dragon from the sky. But he will not be satisfied until all three of their flames are extinguished from the earth.... Along with yours," he tells her ominously.

She sucks in a breath as her body breaks out in goose flesh.

"Why?," she asks. Why her?

"Their kind hate every creature with hot blood in their veins. And the Targaryens were raised in the fires of Valyria. The heat of your blood is stronger than all the others. Even more so since you birthed yours dragons," he tells her solemnly.

"What do I do?," she asks him. She doesn't know how to fight. Much less fight this enemy she didn't even know truly existed until she went beyond the Wall.

He watches her for a long moment before answering. "Only you can answer that," he tells her cryptically.

She feels her frustration bubble up. It was the House of the Undying all over again. Answers given in riddles. However, she swallows it down and nods.

"But," he says as she stands up, "you will not be alone. Soon comes another."

She looks at him in confusion but before she can ask what other he's referring to, he looks away and simply says, "Your questions will be answered soon, Your Grace."

She stares at the young man then looks at Missandei. Her friend gives her an incredulous look at the exchange but says nothing.

Clearing her throat, she looks back to the greenseer.

"I...will take your words into consideration, Lord Stark," she says, not knowing what else to call him.

He gives her a slightly bemused smile and dips his head.

"I hope you do, Your Grace," he responds before looking back at the tree.

Dany gives Missandei another look before they wander out of the godswood and walk to the library next to the guest house.

Once inside, they come across a large man sitting with a mousy haired woman as she bounces a babe on her lap. She's about to turn away when the man's head snaps up. His eyes widen and he hastily gets up out of his chair and mutters, "Y-Your Grace."

The woman then turns around to see them and she too tries to get up.

Dany folds her hands in front of her and bows her head in greeting.

"I'm sorry, we did not mean to disturb you, lord...?," she says not remembering this man in the line of lords and ladies she was introduced to earlier.

"Oh, I'm not a lord, Your Grace. I'm from the Night's Watch. I'm Samwell Tarly," he says nervously.

The name has her immediately stiffen for a moment before she forces herself to appear calm.

She sees Missandei side eye her, but she too remains calm, giving nothing away.

"Tarly... one of the houses from the Reach," she says, pretending as if she has to really think where House Tarly is located.

He nods his head. "Yes, Your Grace."

She takes a quick breath through her nose as she realizes that this man is somehow related to the ones she had burned. But before she decides if she should be the one to inform him of his family's passing or if he even knows anything about the fact that his family was executed, she decides to get a read on him first.

She turns to the woman with the babe and gives her a polite smile which the woman hesitantly returns. Her eyes continue to dart between the two of them, never having seen eyes like those of this queen or hair like the exotic woman.

"And may I ask your name?," she asks kindly to the woman who's still staring at her unique features.

"I'm Gilly and this is little Sam," the woman says, gesturing to the babe before her eyes go large and she stutters, "Your Grace."

"And what house are you from, Lady Gilly?," she asks.

The woman shoots Samwell a nervous glance then says quietly, "I'm one of the Free Folk....Your Grace."

Her brow raises in interest at that.

"Really? I've met some of the Free Folk, but I've not yet had the pleasure of speaking in depth with your people," she says, her enthusiasm evident in her voice.

She gestures to the chairs next to them and asks, "May we?"

"Of...of course, Your Grace," Samwell says as he scrambles around the table to hold out the chair for her.

Missandei takes the chair next to her while Gilly sits across from them by Samwell.

"What was it like beyond the Wall?," she asks the wildling.

Again, the woman's eyes quickly flick to the large man before she answers.

"It was...cold. Even colder than here. And very isolated. I just lived with my family near the Wall. We weren't as far out as the other Free Folk," she says. Her eyes widen and she quickly adds, "Your Grace."

"Yes, I've never experienced such a cold before," the queen says.

"It's....very different from the heat I'm used to," Missandei says in agreement.

Gilly nods hesitantly, not knowing what to say to this beautiful woman in front of her. Much less how to properly address her. Kneelers were so complicated....

"So, are they now part of the North?," Daenerys asks her.

"They live in the North, but they are not part of it," Gilly says. She hasn't met the other Free Folk, but she knows the ways of her people.

"But they follow Lo- King Jon," she says, realizing until Jon told his people he's now a lord, it was safest to keep up the farce of him still being a king.

"Aye," Gilly says, "they follow him to battle. They don't kneel to him."

"Why do they not kneel?," Missandei asks curiously.

Gilly shrugs and says, "We've never truly knelt to anyone. It's not our way."

"But, there have been kings beyond the Wall before," Daenerys says, recalling all of the history lessons Tyrion and Jon put her through about the North on their journey here.

"Only to try and unite the Free Folk in order to get south of the Wall," the woman responds before adding, "Your Grace."

"And that's why the follow... King Jon?," she asks curiously.

Again, the wildling woman nods. "He's the only one who'd help us. He knew what was coming and what would have happened if we stayed," she says grimly.

A shiver runs down Daenerys' spine at that. Yes, they would have become more dead soldiers.

"No one else would help you?," Missandei asks.

The woman looks to her and shakes her head.

"We weren't allowed to cross the Wall. Been that way since it was built," she tells the exotic looking woman.

Dany twists her lips in displeasure at that.

"That sounds much like what you did, Your Grace," Missandei says thoughtfully.

Gilly's eyes look to Missandei in question.

"Queen Daenerys freed thousands of slaves in Essos, including myself. Something that has never been done since the masters and the slaves came to be," Missandei tells the woman.

The woman's eyes go large at that as she looks back and forth between the two women across from her.

"Slaves?," she asks.

"People who are forced to serve others and have no freedom or rights," Sam tells her quietly. "It's very common in the east."

"Many were treated worse than vermin," Missandei tells the woman, trying to tamper down on the anger she will always feel about the "wise" masters.

"Truly?," she asks them. She'd never known about slavery. Had never known such a thing was done. But... she guesses she and her sisters were slaves of sorts to Craster if she had to give her former life a word.

"Yes," Missandei tells her, "until Queen Daenerys ended it."

"I remember reading about that. It was very impressive, Your Grace," Sam says nodding.

Dany looks at him with a suspicious expression on her face. Why would a brother of the Night's Watch have knowledge about her time in Essos?

Upon seeing the look on her face, he realizes that Jon hadn't told her about her late uncle and hurries to explain.

"I uh... I was under the tutelage of a Targaryen before, Your Grace," Sam says sheepishly as he stares at the imposing queen.

Her brow crinkles in confusion, sure that he was misinformed. She stares at him silently as she waits for him to explain.

"Maester Aemon Targaryen at Castle Black. Your great uncle," he says when he sees her confusion.

Her purple eyes go wide at that. What? She had a relative at the Wall? Why had she never heard of him? Could she go see him? Her heart rate picks up with hope.

But as she goes over his words, the "was" sticks out like a beacon. But... but maybe he means that he was taught by Aemon until he had to leave.

"Is... he still at Castle Black?," she asks hesitantly, knowing the answer but needing to hear it anyways.

Sam shakes his head sadly in confirmation.

She nods, trying to swallow the lump in her throat. A crestfallen look covers her face at the realization that yet another member of her family is gone and she's truly alone now. She looks at her lap to hide the pain of that truth. As she thinks more of her line, she realizes he'd been over 100 years old. Missandei reaches over and grips her hand in comfort.

"But he got ravens about you, Your Grace. That's how I knew about your time in Slaver's Bay," he says gently in hopes that the knowledge that the maester knew of her would ease the pain he sees in her purple eyes.

It works as her teary gaze meets his again and turns slightly hopeful as she asks, "He did?"

Sam nods enthusiastically. "Oh yes, he'd have me read them to him."

When he sees her eyes narrow slightly, he rushes to explain, "He'd lost his sight."

Her face smooths out in clarity and she nods.

"He....he hated that he couldn't be with you," he says.

A flash of pain flickers in her eyes before it's gone.

"What was he like?," she asks quietly, keeping her voice as steady as she can.

"He was a wonderful man," Sam says with a smile. "He loved books and always said it was one of the ironies of old age. 'So many books, but no eyes to read them.' He was a brilliant maester. He was kind to all the brothers, but he really helped me. I'm not good with a sword or fighting so he took me as his steward. He was the wisest man I knew," he finishes quietly.

Gilly nods her head in agreement. "He was always kind to me and little Sam, Your Grace. And very smart, like Sam said," she tells the sad queen.

The silver queen gives the woman a small smile before turning back to Sam.

Sam takes a deep breath and his head tilts as he remembers. "He told me once, 'Sam, we tremble on the cusp of half remembered prophecies. Of terrors and wonders that no man now living can hope to comprehend'," he says as his eyes meet her enraptured ones.

"He believed you were the prince that was promised," he explains gently.

Her eyes widen at the phrase as curiosity and wonder fill them. She knows that the red priestess Melisandre told her she believed Dany was part of that prophecy, but she's never thought much about it since. The fact that her uncle believed this as well makes her want to hear more. Though she knows she's heard it somewhere else but she cannot wrap her hands around the memory of where, it disappears just as she reaches for it.

Her curiosity bolsters him to continue and he recalls the words as best he can.

"He said... no one ever looked for a girl. The error crept in from the translation. That 'dragons were neither male nor female. Now one and now the other, as interchangeable as flames.' He said the language misled them all for a thousand years," his forehead furrowed as he remembers the rest.

She glances at Missandei and nods. Her friend had said the same about the phrase being gender neutral.

He looks up as it comes back to him and continues. "He said you were the one, born amidst salt and smoke. That your dragons prove it. He said that I had to tell the Citadel that you're our hope. They needed to send you a maester to counsel and protect you. I'm sure he would have had the Citadel send another maester for the Watch so he could have gone to you himself. He even said he needed to go to you, but his body had betrayed him. He said that the dragon must have three heads, but he was too old and frail to be one of them," he smiles sadly at the queen.

Her eyes widen even more.

Mother of dragons... child of three....


Three heads has the dragon...the ghost chorus yammered in her skull.

But before she can think more about how her uncle knew of this as well, Sam continues.

"That's all he wanted when he took his last breaths- for you to know so you could come and save us. I know he would be glad to see that you have," he finishes gently.

She gives him a tragic smile for a moment before it falls. She swallows hard again and blinks rapidly to keep the tears from falling. Missandei looks at her with sympathy, never having seen her friend and queen show such sadness before strangers.

Oh, how Dany wished her uncle could have met her children before he passed. To know that the dragons were no longer the grief of their house, but the glory. A wistful look crosses her face at the thought. She thinks how different she would have moved, how her course of action would have been set had she'd known about Aemon. That she could have met another who didn't have the madness their family was known for and that had inflicted Viserys.

If there were gods, they had an unending cruelty in the ways they'd always make sure her family slipped between her fingers like sand, no matter how hard she gripped it. Leaving her to be the last of the forty families of dragonlords of Old Valyria. And when she died, there would be no more.

The thought is so depressing and bleak that she clears her throat and forces it out of her mind.

She looks back up at the man and gives him what she hopes is a smile. He gives her a sympathetic twitch of his lips in return.

"Thank you," she tells him, "for telling me about him."

"Of course, Your Grace," he says.

Taking a steadying breath, she knows she has to tell him what she's done to his family.

"Unfortunately, I cannot give you such tidings," she says quietly as she looks at him head on.

His expression becomes panicked at that and he swallows.

"I...met a Lord Randyl Tarly on the battlefield when I learned that Highgarden had been defeated by the Lannisters," she says as she keeps eye contact with him.

His eyes go large at that and a small "oh" comes out of his mouth. He looks down for a moment before meeting her stare again. "I take it he didn't survive?," he asks.

"He refused to bend the knee and said he would rather die than follow a foreign queen who commands barbarians," she says point blank.

He winces at that and with a sigh, nods his head.

"Your Grace, in truth, my father was the reason I went to the Wall," he says as he looks at her again. "I was never good enough or strong enough. He wanted my younger brother Dickon to be his heir. So, my father gave me the option of either going to the Wall or..." he pauses and looks down sadly as he remembers the hateful words his father said to him all those years ago and what he said when he and Gilly went back to Hornhill.

He clears his throat and looks back up at the striking violet eyes of the queen before him, unsure of whether he should divulge this stranger with such personal details. But, he can see the regret in her eyes as she probably feels he'll be angry with her.

Truthfully, he never had a connection with his father. Threatening your own son to take the black or you'll kill him isn't something that inspires love from that child. He'd disowned his father when he took Heartsbane. And now, he's quite glad he did because otherwise it would have been left with his father's ashes or sent back to Hornhill. Where it would be of no use to anyone here. 

"Or I would encounter an unfortunate hunting accident," he finishes.

A look of abhorrence covers the queen and her advisor's features.

"I never liked that man," Gilly says angrily as she looks at the silver queen.

"He was horrible to Sam when we stopped on our way to the place where Sam needed to go to be a maester," she tells Dany.

"The Citadel," Sam tells her quietly.

Dany and Missandei see the loathing look on Gilly's as she remembers the mean lord.

Sam clears his throat again and purple and brown eyes look back to him.

"I'm not mournful over his death, Your Grace," he says honestly.

But a thought occurs to him and he hesitantly asks, "Was Dickon with him?"

The disgusted look changes to sympathy as she nods her head.

"He too chose death over submission," she says quietly.

He breathes deeply through his nose at that. That one hurts. No matter what his father thought, Dickon was always good to Sam and Sam to him. He loved Dickon his whole life and knew he'd make a better ruler of Hornhill.

His baby brother, always following their father in hopes to be like him.

Even to death, Sam thinks sadly.

"Are my mother and sister alive?," he asks pained. Please, not his lady mother. Not sweet Talla.

"To my knowledge, yes. Or if they are not, it was not under my command. I did not meet the Lannister and Tarly forces at Hornhill and I have left it alone," she says.

He can't stop the whoosh of air out of his lungs in relief. He nods his head in gratitude at that.

"Thank you, Your Grace," he says fervently.

She tilts her head and looks at Sam a moment with those unsettling violet eyes before saying, "I did not come to Westeros to slaughter and ascend to the Iron Throne on the corpses of the people, Samwell Tarly. I came here to create a new world. Just as I did in Essos. A world where the common folk and people like your Gilly can find a place here and prosper just as much as lords and royalty. And now I am here to save it, as you said earlier."

Sam and Gilly sit there stunned at this queen's words. Sam recalls how he'd told maester Aemon she sounded like quite a woman back then and he stands by his observation.

Suddenly, the dragons' cries echo through the air. They all look to the window and see them flying around each other off in the distance.

The sight of only the two of them makes her throat tighten. She feels Missandei give her hand a sympathetic squeeze to which she gratefully returns. She looks at her friend and gives a sad smile.

"They miss him," she whispers, momentarily forgetting the other two across from them. Missandei nods in agreement as her brown eyes watch the dragons again. They begin circling closer to each other only to drift away before they meet once more. It's a tragic beauty with the grey sky behind them. A lonely dance that reminds her of the ones the water cranes would do with their mates.

Gilly looks at the queen a moment and sees the grief in her beautiful purple eyes that is locked away with the next blink.

"They're quite extraordinary," she says quietly as she gives little Sam a small wooden toy to play with. Sam nods in agreement as he continues to gaze at the creatures with wide eyes. He'd love to hear of how they came to be... what their intelligence is like...

The queen gives a small smile in response and watches the child in her lap with a wistful look.

"They're brothers," the queen says quietly in reply after a moment.

Gilly's brow knits in confusion as she remembers what Sam just said about dragons.

Looking up and seeing her confusion, Dany explains, "I simply call them that because they came into the world together. Samwell is correct in that they are technically an it. They change their sex accordingly."

"So...they could breed?," Gilly asks curiously as her eyes go back to watching the fascinating creatures.

When she turns back to the queen, she sees a hopeful light in her eye as she nods and says, "They could indeed."

When little Sam points to the dragons, her purple eyes go back to him and the wistful look returns.

"He's a beautiful boy," she tells Gilly kindly.

"Thank you, Your Grace," she says softly.

As Sam watches the dragons, he suddenly remembers something else maester Aemon told him.

"He told me how he dreamed of dragons. Maester Aemon, that is," he says quietly as he turns back to the queen.

She gasps lightly and takes her eyes off little Sam to look at him with curiosity.

"Did he tell you what they were about?," she asks just as softly.

He nods and says, "He said he saw a red star in the sky. He saw...," he swallows as his eyes flick to the window before looking back to her.

"He saw their shadows on the snow, heard the crack of leathern wings and felt their hot breath. He said his brothers dreamt of dragons too and the dreams killed them."

She swallows hard. He'd had prophetic dreams... Dreams of her dragons coming north.

Again, sadness winds its way through her and her heart constricts at the knowledge of just how much she could have learned from him. If only she'd left earlier...

But, she can't change it now. He's gone and the only connection she has to him is sitting in front of her.

"Perhaps you could tell me more about him some time?," she asks.

He nods quickly. "I'd be honored, Your Grace," he says before looking back out the window. "I would love to hear more about your dragons and Essos," he says without thinking before he realizes he spoke the words out loud. He looks at her with wide eyes and begins to stammer, "I'm sorry. I didn't...I don't mean that... I don't expect you to... to tell me things. I'd be happy to tell you more about maester Aemon."

She gives a light smile at the man. "It's quite alright," she tells him.

"Your Grace," a voice says.

They turn to find Ser Jorah standing there waiting.

When Jorah sees Sam, he gives him a surprised look before he smiles and bows his head in greeting.

"Ser Jorah," he says, dipping his head in return as he smiles at the older knight.

Seeing the interaction, Daenerys gives Jorah a questioning look.

"Samwell here is the one who cured me, Your Grace," he tells her.

Her eyebrows raise at that and she turns back to Sam.

"It appears I owe you a debt of gratitude, Samwell Tarly, for the knowledge you shared as well as returning my trusted advisor to me," she says kindly.

"Oh... I was simply doing my service, Your Grace," he says sheepishly.

Her brow lifts in response and she looks him over again, tilting her head as her eyes snap back to his.

"It was a pleasure," she says demurely as she gets up. She then turns to leave, with the others following behind her.

When the queen and her advisors are gone, Gilly looks at Sam thoughtfully.

"She's quite intimidating," she says. He nods in agreement with. She's very intimidating to him. He could feel the power coming off her. The unsettling way she'd look at a person as though she can skin their soul from their body with just a glance and judge it right there in front of them.

"She seemed so sad that she didn't get to meet maester Aemon," she murmurs, looking at Sam.

"He was her last living relative," he says. Except for Jon.

"Oh," Gilly says, looking at little Sam before returning her eyes to him after a while.

"I like her," she decides.

Sam cracks at grin at her in amusement.

"She's interesting," he says.

Perhaps her learning who Jon is won't be as bad as he imagined. But that hope is quickly snuffed out when he thinks how it'll all depend on how Jon takes it.

He sighs at that.

Their lives were never easy, were they?